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August 2021
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The Perfect Beach

By Xiao

Picture this, clear sky with couple of clouds drifting, as far as your eyes can see, the dark blue ocean expands into horizon, and close by, waves are crashing, the mile long white sandy beach are only dotted by colorful seashells, clean and unbroken…

Well, if that is the picture of a perfect beach in your mind, this is not it. The sky has a overcast, the ocean does not extend to the horizon since it is a bay. The beach is almost two-toned with dark rocky sand bars and water in-between reflecting the sun light. Determined by the time you visit, you will see stones of all shapes and sizes. There are seaweed, scattered along the shore. Yes, there are seashells, some are broken, some are not. They are not colorful, and most of the time, half buried in the black sand.

This is certainly not the perfect beach in most people’s mind. You cannot go take a dip since it is cold even in summer. Yet, every time you step on this beach, you cannot help but take in a big lung full of salty fresh air. Without the white sand and polished “jewels” on the beach to draw your attention, you won’t miss the ocean and the view across the bay. The blue tinted mountain range is the focal point of this picture, the eternal snow covered peaks make you wonder how long have the glaciers slept in their embrace. The waves here are gentle, only couple of white lines are breaking out from time to time, to keep the serenity of this place. Do not get me wrong, this beach is very much alive. Birds leisurely fly over head or just take a stroll on the beach. From time to time, the territory lines invisible to us are broken, you will witness a fight. Then everything is back to normal.

Once you have taken in the grand picture, there are plenty of things to explore. Besides the shells that still in the form of connected halves, you can find the colors of a rainbow in different rocks. Even the seaweed, from the big bundle of yellowish brown, to a stem of vibrant red smaller then your pinky, floating in the receding tide. A bit further from the tide, in the dark grey sand, pots of green grass are bathing under the sun. I even found couple of mushrooms with sand on top. Sandy mushrooms, I wonder how they taste like, seafood, I smiled. Drift wood are scattered along the beach, smoothed and bleached, the silverish hue traces along the stems, without the hard metal tone, more like ivory but in silver. The beach goes on mile after mile, with nobody in sight. Toward the river mouth, you started to see people, fishing along the river bank on the other side of the beach. Upstream, some sports-fishmen scattered along couple of fishing holes, sunlight traces a shiny curve as they cast their lines. They call this place frontier, I prefer to call it the front door of nature. It is not picture perfect by conventional standard, yet it is perfect, the beach at Anchor Point, Alaska.

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